A Case for Springbok Hunting with Kite-Like Structures in the Northwest Nama Karoo Bioregion of South Africa

Marlize Lombard, Shaw Badenhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the Levant and some arid zones of Central Asia, desert kites are well-known hunting structures often thought to have been used for the large-scale harvesting of gazelles during the Holocene. Until recently, such structures were unknown from the southern hemisphere. However, three kite sites have now been identified in Keimoes in the arid hinterland north of the Gariep River where the northwest Nama Karoo (the geographic area and ecology otherwise known as Bushmanland [Mucina and Rutherford 2006]) and Kalahari Duneveld bioregions meet. Here we use aspects of gazelle behavior, and local ethnographical and ethno-historical records, to explore the possibility that the stone-built kites or funnel chains of South Africa may have been used to hunt springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis), southern Africa’s only gazelle. We argue that seasonal herds of gazelles, colloquially known as trekbokken (large springbok herds on the march), were a possible target of precolonial hunters who used their intimate understanding of the animals and their landscape to design the kites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-396
Number of pages14
JournalAfrican Archaeological Review
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019

Keywords

  • Antidorcas marsupialis
  • Desert kite
  • Later Stone Age
  • Northern Cape
  • Springbok

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology

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